iPod & iPad

Real SMS and SMS Magic FAQ

Q: How can I validate my account without a phone?

A: Just borrow a phone. It's not a big deal. These gateways are set up for web/phone users, they know nothing about apps or iDevices.

Q: Why should I pay for this app when there are plenty of free texting apps?

A: Get real, phone companies don't send free texts. Those apps are for countries where the receiver pays for the text. They usually require you to know the name of the receiver's carrier as well. This app also does not bother you with ads.

Q: Why do I need another app, I can send messages with my IM client/Skype/MSN/etc.?

A: Sure you can. What about your mother's ancient Nokia? Real SMS can text any old phone and get a reply. No need to keep an IM app runnning and draining your battery.

Q: Why is this all so difficult? I don't know anything about International number formats and all that stuff!

A: While every effort has been made to ensure Real SMS/SMS Magic are easy to use, setting up a carrier account does require some rudimentary understanding of the global telephone system. That's just how it is. Other people do it, so can you.

Q: I see it's listed for the iPhone as well. How dumb is that?

A: Some people are charged 25c per text message by their carriers. Some people might spend all day in a building with a WiFi network but poor 3G reception. You could probably think of some more reasons if you tried.

Q: Why use only these carriers? (XXXcompany) are cheaper/better/whatever.

A: These apps require a public 2-way sms gateway service supporting specific technical requirements. Many such carriers want to charge you a monthly fee for your own incoming number, or simply do not offfer the necessary capabilities. Also, most people dislike forfeiting unused credits, and appreciate being able to check out the service without paying anything.

Q: Do I have to fill in all that stuff in my Account Profile?

A: These companies' websites are designed for their web users. They don't know or care about apps such as Real SMS or SMS Magic. As far as these apps are concerned, you only need to configure a username, password, sms-to-email and optionally, a telephone number for replies. Configuring email-to-sms, if available, is convenient so that you can reply to texts from your email app if you wish. Other functionality is not used by the app, but if you set up your Profile fully you can also send texts from a computer if you need to.

Q: What about the maximum number of message parts for split messages?

A: Real SMS won't transmit more than 612 characters (4 SMS messages) and SMS Magic 459 characters (3 SMS messages). Both apps always set the minimum possible split size on a per-message basis. You get an audible warning and on-screen message if you exceed 160 characters (70 for Unicode).

Q: Should I enable delivery receipts and status messages? (Real SMS only)

A: You probably don't want to do this unless you send very few messages. Your Inbox will quickly fill with junk, and if you use POP you will have no choice but to download it all. It's not so bad if you use IMAP, at least you can delete them on the server. If you absolutely need to know if a particular message has been delivered, you can log into your account and check the message status there. SMS Magic provides in-app status reports as required.

Q: How do I know when I have a new text message?

A: The same way you know that you have a new email. If you would like your iPod or iPad to behave more like a phone, try an app such as GPush and a Gmail account - or set up a separate GMail, Yahoo or MobileMe push account - and get an immediate notification when a new SMS arrrives. With SMS Magic you can check for and download new messages at any time from within the app.

Q: Why can't I get a new nessage notification from the app?

A: Even if the gateway carrier provided new message notifications, which they currently don't, they have no way of contacting your app. There are third-party notification servers who can forward them via APNS but they cost money. No doubt you would be willing to pay a fee for notifications via in-app purchases - but Apple forbid charging for notifications. The simple way round this is to get copies of your SMS sent to a free push email account such as Gmail, then you get instant new message notifications even if the app is not running.

Q: Don't I have to use the international format for my local numbers? The carrier website says I do.

A: No. That's only for their web interface. Real SMS and SMS Magic handle this automatically for you. Enter local mobile numbers just as you would with a mobile phone. Enter International numbers in the normal +country code - area code - telnumber format. Omit any leading zeros in the area code when texting Internationally.

Q: Why do I keep getting errors then?

A: Maybe you accidentally tapped Burkina Faso instead of Burundi when setting up. It happens. Check your dial code with your device's Settings app. It should be your country's international dial code. If you are using Real SMS, check that your own phone number does not include your country code, as Real SMS adds it automatically for you.

Q: I still get gateway/network errors!

A: Are you using the Reply-to-Phone option? For security reasons, the Reply-to-Phone feature will only work with phone numbers validated by the carrier, such as the phone number you used to sign up. Other possibilities are an intermittent network connection and a sender number with too many digits, see above.

Q: What happens to my messages if I delete and reinstall the app?

A: You will lose your stored messages. Depending on your settings, you may be able to recover some of them:

  • Sent Messages - will be deleted (copies remain in your Text Magic Outbox).
  • Templates - will be deleted. You may wish to copy and paste the bodies of the messages into a text file before deleting the app, to facilitate recreating them.
  • Received Messages - will be deleted. However you may be able to recover some or all of these: -
    If you have Delete on Server set to ON, there are no messages to recover.
    If it is set to OFF, all your messages will be downloaded again when you restart the app (this could be a large download).
  • Note that you can also temporarily turn the switch OFF for say, a month and then delete and reinstall the app. You will then have the last's month's received messages to recover.
  • You can't delete a suspended app, you must completely exit it first, see below.

Q: What does 'Authentication failed for user James007' mean? I am james007 and I have double-checked my password!

A: It means what it says. User names are case sensitive. Use your Settings app to correct the spelling.

Q: Nothing happens when I change my Settings!

A: On compatible devices using iOS 4.2 and above, apps which you close are merely suspended using Fast App Switching ("multitasking") and return to where you left them when you open the app again. If you make any changes to default settings using Settings.app, you must completely exit the app from the taskbar or restart your device to enable the changes.

Note: The supported carriers operate public SMS gateway services, and have nothing to do with your app. Contact them only for account-related issues such as passwords etc. If you encounter difficulties using Real SMS or SMS Magic, please use the Quick Troubleshooter link above.